Given the political divisiveness throughout the recent years, it has become more common for people to cut off those who do not agree with their own politics or views. A lot of people, mostly those who oppose the current administration, are very vocal about their disinterest in continuing friendships with those who do not share the same distaste. In response, many critique those who do cut off people who don’t support the same political party, claiming that they should be able to be friends with people with different views than theirs. I agree that we should be open to having discussions, even with those who have differing views, but I think people cut off others not because of a difference in political views but rather a difference in morality.
I took a philosophy class last quarter about the ethics and psychology of persuasion. One lesson in particular was about whether or not we are morally obligated to engage with those who differ in opinions than us, and the answer was obviously not a clear cut one. But what I drew from the information we learned, was that we are not morally obliged to engage with someone who differs in morals than us. How can we? We have a different morality, we are guided by different morals and values—something that is so essential to us as beings.
What I learned in this class was yes, we should be willing to hear the opposing argument, but I don’t think that means we are forced to keep relationships with those whose moral compasses are not aligned the same as ours.
I think that those who judge others for cutting people off for differing in political views are not looking at the issue deeply enough. People are not cutting off someone simply for having a different opinion. This is not a matter of whether apple pie is better than pumpkin pie, and I think it is rather privileged to think that difference of political views is the same as differing in preferences or opinions like those.
You have to look at the core of what the politics are that you support. You are not only supporting that party, policy or candidate, but the values that come along with those. You have to look at the values that policies and parties uphold, because that is what you’re supporting, that is what you’re voting for.
Something I learned in therapy is that in the end, morals and values are what guides us, what makes us who we are. What is essential to any good relationship is shared morality and values. Someone who wishes to not keep a relationship who does not have the same morals is completely reasonable.
While some may say that cutting people off only buys into the divisiveness and promotes being close minded, and to a degree they are correct, I think it makes absolute sense. The reason there is such a divide, one that seems like the biggest there has been, is because this is not merely a difference in opinions, and we cannot treat it as such. Of course, we should be willing to hear the other side at least to an extent as discussions are crucial for an understanding to occur, but that doesn’t mean you should keep them in your life if you don’t want to.
What I have said stands for people on either side of the main political parties. If someone who votes for Biden chooses to cut off someone who voted for Trump or vice versa, they are completely entitled to. It is their life and they can choose who they will or won’t surround themselves around. But, we have to understand that this is not about political preferences rather one about morality and values.